We only had 3 days so here’s our Barcelona guide on how we used our time as this vibrant and diverse city is so spread out! DAY ONE : we arrived at our hotel mid morning and headed straight out to the waterfront where we planned to spend the rest of the day. The modern marina was big and busy with lots of great boats to look at as we walked along the shaded, palm tree lined path which led us onto the beach – which stretches for miles! The wide sandy beach and never ending bars and restaurants was the perfect setting for our first lunch where we went straight in for the ‘paella’ at the popular restaurant The Salamanca – delicious and with great sea views!
After our big lunch it was just perfect to stroll along the shoreline and walk it off! The golden sand was warm and there was so much life and activity going on all around with people exercising, groups of friends hanging out, singing along to a guitar and people of all ages just enjoying the seafront – such a pleasant and relaxing way to spend an afternoon. We watched the sunset and then cut into town to the lively El Bourne quarter where we had our first of many ‘tapas’ which was the perfect end to our first day!
DAY TWO : was all about getting into city life and seeing the extraordinary architecture that this city is celebrated for! We quickly cut across Las Ramblas (the very wide main street that cuts across the city centre, north to south) as this street really wasn’t for us – way too touristy, tacky, dirty and busy getting even more so, of all those things, at night!! So our first real stop was a wander around the narrow streets of the Gothic quarter which was very beautiful and atmospheric leading on to another area we had really enjoyed the night before, El Bourne. We found it just as vivacious and intriguing by day – a real hub of great tapas bars and restaurants that we highly recommend!
We are not into shopping when we are away but we did note that there seemed to be many interesting, quirky boutiques around in the older quarters with plenty of things that looked unusual and a little bit different from the norm! We also took in a 20 minute show of Flamenco which might have been a real tourist trap type of affair but turned out to be a highly professional performance by a talented group of 6 that was spellbinding! You’ll find this show in a small bar/theatre in the beautiful square of Placa Reial (just off of Las Ramblas) … we actually returned to this square that evening where we had dinner sitting al fresco and taking in the picturesque setting and atmosphere which was wonderful!
In the afternoon we searched out the architecture of Barcelona’s most celebrated architect and designer Gaudi – facades that are hard to miss with their distinctive undulation and unique details! Amazing to think too that these buildings were commissioned and built well over 100 years ago! Check out our blog post on Barcelona’s craziest rooftop for more detail on what we found at Casa Mila – which has to be seen to be believed … we loved it and it is definitely worth a visit!
DAY THREE : was about going further out of town with our first stop being the vast Sagrada Familia cathedral that Gaudi never saw finished – in fact it still isn’t finished today in 2016!! Building actually started in 1882 and is on going with a projected end in sight of 2026! A feat of engineering and a life’s work of many, it really is a monster of a structure. But unfortunately the whole thing didn’t resinate with us – even though we could appreciate the incredible workmanship of the stone masons and builders it just didn’t strike a cord … but we are glad that we saw it, stood under it’s looming towers and that we experienced it!
Moving on in the afternoon we took a taxi further out still – climbing high above the city – to reach the wonderfully eccentric Guell Park which is again where Gaudi’s imagination was allowed to run riot, this time in the form of mosaic madness! So vibrant, playful and fun the Gaudi section is ticketed but we would recommend going in as there is so much to see along with amazing panoramic terraces overlooking the whole of Barcelona! Check out our full blog post of Guell Park as it’s the perfect place to hang out amongst the art, lush greenery and stunning views! All in all we loved our flying visit around Barcelona which has everything you could want to make for a perfect city break!
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